In Krupnik, Bulgaria, many Roma families live trapped in poverty. In the Roma community it is common to drop out of education early because of discrimination, poverty, and a lack of support. Later on, it’s challenging to secure well-paid work because of a lack of education – and the cycle of poverty continues. Poverty is often compounded by relationship difficulties, conflict, alcohol abuse, and a sense of hopelessness about the future.
Todor, 32, lives in Krupnik with his wife Elmira, 26, and three children – Sofia, seven, Krisia age five, and Teodor, age one. They share a house with Todor’s parents, where they have a room of their own and share the kitchen. Although Todor has always had a gift for
hairdressing, he didn’t have a good space to work from and made very little money from it. Todor had attended church from a young age, but in his teenage years he grew cold towards God. He and his wife, living in poverty, went through a difficult time of frequent conflict, not knowing how to move forwards.
Todor shares hope with his clients every day in his shop
When the family were enrolled on Mission Without Borders’ (MWB) family sponsorship program, they began receiving regular material, emotional and spiritual support, visited regularly by MWB staff member Emil, whose daughter also works for the Mission.
Emil said, “There was one period this family went through that was very difficult. Todor and his wife almost got divorced. With the help of God, I had many conversations with them and so did my daughter, who also works for the Mission. Things really changed and now they are a solid couple.
“The other difficult time was when Todor’s father died. The whole family was very broken by this. We spent many hours with them during this time because they needed us.
“Now I can say that Todor is a very stable man, taking care of his family. He looks after his mother. He’s a person I can work with really easily as he’s so hardworking, and if he needs something, he is very open and he tells me.”
Thanks to Emil’s support, two incredible changes went on to happen in Todor’s life: his relationship with God was restored – and he was helped to start up a successful hairdressing salon.
Todor said, “I was one of those people who needed a push to wake up again and turn to God. Emil pushed me to seek the Lord again and follow him, and I will always be grateful for that. I felt a great inner need to return to God. The best decision in my life was to walk with Jesus and give my life to him.”
He added, “Emil is like a second father to me: I trust him with everything. I know I can always go to him for advice because I know he loves me and is ready to help me and my family with any problems we have.
“Emil, along with his daughters, Emilia and Kiki, have always been by my side. Whenever they came to get their hair cut, they never stopped encouraging me with Bible truths and verses as well as sound advice.”
Emil said, “The most important thing is that through the Mission’s support, Todor became a Christian, and praise the Lord, now the whole family are believers and attend church regularly. This is the most important part of our jobs, as MWB staff.